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Pearson Mary E, “The kiss of deception”, public translation into English from English More about this translation.

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Be careful sister, be careful.

Something cold crouched low in my gut, and I stopped walking. His warning was so close, so immediate, but distant too.

“Walther?” I called out, knowing he couldn’t possibly be here, but—

I heard the footsteps, but too late. I didn’t even have time to turn before I was crushed by an arm across my chest. I was yanked backward, my arms pinned at my sides. A brutal hand clamped down on my wrist. I screamed but then felt the prick of a knife at my throat and heard a warning not to utter another sound. I could smell him, the stench of rotten teeth on hot breath, oily unwashed hair, and the overwhelming odor of sweat-soaked clothing, all of it as oppressive as the arm that squeezed me. The knife pressed into my flesh, and I felt the tickle of blood running into the hollow of my neck.

“I have no money,” I said. “Just a—”

“I’m going to tell you this once only. I want what you stole.”

My knife was sheathed beneath my jerkin at my left side, just inches from my fingers, but I couldn’t reach up with my left hand to get it, and my right arm was held tight in his grip. If I could just buy some time.

“I’ve stolen many things,” I said. “Which one—”

“This knife is courtesy of the Scholar and Chancellor,” he growled. “That should help you remember.”

“I didn’t take anything of theirs.”

He shifted his grip, pushing the knife higher so I had to press back against him to avoid having it cut deeper into my skin. I didn’t dare breathe or move, even though he loosened his hold on my arm. He produced a piece of paper, shaking it front of my eyes. “And this note says different. The Scholar told me to tell you he wasn’t amused.”

I recognized the note. My own.

Such an intriguing piece, but tsk, not properly

shelved. It is now. I hope you don’t mind.

“If I give it back, you’ll kill me.” The only parts of my body I could move were my legs. I gingerly shuffled my right boot along the dirt, trying to find where his foot was positioned behind me. I finally met with something solid. My blood pounded in my ears, every part of me on fire.

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